7 Key Elements of Lay Spirituality
Mark Quinn
Source Unknown

Is there a distinctive spirituality for Christian lay people today? If spirituality means, as I think it does, an ultimate relationship with God, then there can be only one spirituality. Since there is only one God, there can be only one true spiritual union. Nevertheless, there are as many ways of living out this one spirituality as there are Christians.

  1. First and most important is prayer. Anyone serious about modeling life according to God’s plan, must pray frequently.…
         Prayer is talking over my life with God. The goal of all true prayer is to look at life with the eyes of God. Prayer attempts to make me patient with myself, compassionate toward others and peaceful most of all. How can I tell if I am really praying or just mouthing words? If I am at least somewhat calmer and more joyful afterward, then I have been praying.
         Ten or fifteen minutes a day reading the Bible or just sitting quiet, with a willingness to listen to God’s silence, is not impossible.

  2. The second important aspect is intimacy. Intimacy means more than proximity; it means sharing the depths of self with another. To be intimate is to be completely honest about myself.…
         Encouragement is another facet of intimacy. Where family members thank each other…pay each other sincere compliments…and resist the many opportunities to be critical of each other, there is a loving household. Sin, as well as charity begins at home. Supporting one another, and above all, listening to one another, can insure it is charity and not antagonism based on defensiveness, that arises from family intimacy.

  3. A third characteristic of Christian spirituality is forgiveness.…Forgiveness is not exclusively other-centered. Very often the hardest person to forgive is myself. There are only two practical methods for getting over my own blunders: forgetting and forgiving. Forgetting means mentally shoveling dirt on the painful incident so it can no longer haunt my self-image. Unfortunately, this method often verges on repression.
         A better method is forgiving. This means looking directly at the harm I’ve done and praying about it until I can see it as humbling me down from my pinnacle of self-importance so that God can fill me with His own selfless love. In this way, the more I am forgiven, the more of God’s love there is in me.

  4. The fourth aspect of spirituality is work. For work to be truly Christian, the worker must be creative. One must try to bring order out of chaos…The creative worker is goal-oriented; not haphazard, sets aside time to think about the implications of one’s work.

  5. A fifth aspect of spirituality is hospitality. Hospitality is an attitude of attentiveness that makes the one encountered feel valued. By spending time with someone, listening to him, I affirm that he is more than an object. I make him feel as a cherished member of the human community, instead of an intruder.

  6. The sixth aspect of spirituality is networking, or forming associations in order to meet human needs. So long as the project is pursued prayerfully, enthusiastically and with tolerance for the truth of opposing viewpoints, it fulfills the second Christian commandment: love your neighbor as yourself.
         Networking counteracts the tendency to narcissism so prevalent in our society, by focusing attention away from self to the urgent needs of others.…

  7. The seventh and last aspect of spirituality is play. Play is the imaginative construction of one segment of reality. Play is much more than diversion or exercise. It is creativity in preliminary form, the fore-runner of authentic change.
         Play is creative time-wasting. It relativizes the tyranny of time and the dictatorship of duty. It introduces joy into the seriousness of reality. Play is important for the Christian because it requires a certain distancing from all that is usually considered important.